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NoteMark pen scanner digitizes paper documents in an instant


January 31, 2013

The NoteMark is a ballpoint pen with a built-in camera and laser sight that stores documents as high-definition photos

The NoteMark is a ballpoint pen with a built-in camera and laser sight that stores documents as high-definition photos

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As more information becomes available in digital formats, it can be a little frustrating to not be able to simply bookmark or save any documents printed on ordinary paper. There are plenty of articles, recipes, letters, contracts, etc. that would be much more convenient if they were saved on a flash drive, which is where the NoteMark would come in handy. With a laser-projected sight and built-in camera that captures documents as high-definition photos, the ballpoint pen/scanner could be an invaluable tool for quickly digitizing and storing paper documents.

Unlike other miniature scanners, such as Planon's SlimScan or Docupen, the NoteMark is equipped with a 5-megapixel sensor with an auto-focus lens that can capture an image instantly. Twisting the top of the pen readies the sensor, while a button on the side activates the shutter.

The sensor is capable of digitizing just about any information put in front of it, from a small blurb in a magazine to an entire whiteboard of notes. Each picture is captured as a sharp 2048 x 1536-resolution JPEG and stored in the pen's 1GB of flash memory, which can hold up to 1,000 images. The pen also features a microphone and can record up to 1,000 one-minute voice clips in WAV format.

It takes one hour to fully charge the scanner through USB, which gives it enough power to take about 300 images. Once the images or audio clips are saved, you can access them by plugging the NoteMark into any Mac or PC and even sync them across computers and mobile devices using software from Evernote.

It's a fairly simple device, but one that could no doubt save a lot of time and hassle for both office workers and James Bond alike. The NoteMark is available through various online retailers, comes in a variety of colors, and includes an ink cartridge and leather carrying case.

Source: NoteMark via Hammacher Schlemmer

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things. All articles by Jonathan Fincher

The problem with this sort of technology is that you still cannot see what you are scanning until it is seen on the screen. Pretty pictures above make it look so clean. However, without some sort of view screen, these things have the potential to waste a lot of time.


I have a pen in my office desk draw. I use it about once a month. It is really sad so many people still use books and pens.

Michael Mantion

Went to the website... looks like vapor ware to me. No mention of availability, price... Vaporware...

S Michael

@S Michael, the sales site is at the other link (via Hammacher)



Perhaps you didn't read about the two very important features:

1) It projects a laser frame around the area to be captured.

2) It has an auto-focus lens.

These two features combined will assure that you will get exactly what you want to get without need of a screen to preview or post-view. The only issue is that the larger the document you want to capture, the lower the resolution. However, 5 mega-pixels should be enough to deliver legible results for 8.5" x 11" pages. I wouldn't try to capture finely-detailed, large-format CAD drawings with it, but for small to regular-sized docs, it will be adequate and convenient.

Even so, this product may be a little too late to the market as even the cheapest smartphones are now equipped with 5 mega-pixel, auto-focus cameras, some even with OCR software, voice note recording, and of course immediate Internet access for storage, retrieval, and sharing.


OK...I get it...it draws a laser box around what is to be scanned...but you know what? I have a camera in my phone and a nice point-and-shoot camera as well, but I invariably get blurry pictures with those and I have a display to see what I'm taking a picture of. This thing, I have no idea if the image is blurry or not. And after I take the picture, what do I do with it then? Do I have to worry about perspective? How about OCR? JPGs are notorious for taking crappy text images...the lossy format is designed to throw pixels away. You can't have this with text...also antialiasing and dithering is bad for black and white text...yet, JPG is designed with this in mind...Now if it saved the image in GIF or a standard vector image format, that would be a different story, but then 1gb would only store a couple dozen images...


So it almost does what Camscanner does on my Android phone...for free. Camscanner crops the image and enhances it. Then if you have Dropbox installed, you can link it to your main computer for consumption.

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